The Law of International Institutions

By D. W. Bowett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
THE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS ON THE DOCTRINE OF SOVEREIGN EQUALITY OF STATES

THE sovereign State not only tended, in the nineteenth century, to be thought of as the only real subject of international law, but, in the context of the nineteenth-century conferences, which represented the beginnings of international organisation, equality meant "the right of every interested State to participate on an equal footing, (and) conceding to the delegations of every State an equality of voting strength whenever votes are taken and requiring unanimity for all important decisions and...limiting the assembly to decisions ad referendum...."1 The assumptions that only States ought properly to be represented in the international sphere, that States should enjoy complete equality of vote, and that decisions required unanimity could, if carried to their logical conclusions, well-nigh stultify the promotion of common interests through the medium of international organisations. Our present purpose, therefore, is to show how far, by a constant process of development and experiment, these supposed consequences of the doctrine of sovereign equality have been evaded by different techniques of membership, representation, voting and the like.


I MEMBERSHIP OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS

A good deal has already been said of admission to membership in the first, descriptive part of this book in so far as the membership provisions of the various organisations have been mentioned in dealing with specific organisations.2 It will have become apparent that universality

____________________
1
Dickinson, The Equality of States in International Law ( 1920), p. 280; see also Bengt Broms, The Doctrine of Equality of States as applied in International Organisations ( 1959); Boutros-Ghali, "Le principle d'Egalité des Etats et les Organisations internationales", ( 1960) 100 R.C. I: Drago, "La pondéeration dans les organisations internationales", ( 1956) 2 Ann.fr.de dr.int.; Padirac, L'égalité des Etats et l'organisation internationale ( 1953).
2
Ante, p. 25, 37, 52, 100.

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